Throughout my career I have attended numerous professional development sessions where the latest teaching strategies that were shared touched on play-based learning, inquiry-based learning, how to best teach reading and writing, etc. While I found the sessions informative, the how-to-implement part never seemed clear. And it wasn’t only me who walked away feeling confused, as I can recall having lengthy discussions with colleagues about how we were going to incorporate our new learnings into our classrooms. Reflecting on these events, I have come to realize that this is because sharing a strategy versus sharing a plan of action are two very different things, and talking about one without the other is where, in my opinion, many of the problems in education today stem from – a lack of direction when it comes time to execute.
In order to move forward with a solution to the problem, it is first important to clarify the difference between offering a strategy and offering a plan. If we look at the definitions of the two words in broad terms a “strategy” refers to an idea(s) one has for achieving a goal, whereas a “plan” refers to a detailed proposal or blueprint that outlines specific steps that will be taken alongside a timeline. And so when educators attend a session that explains why a teaching strategy is important, what it looks like in the classroom, and some ideas for incorporating it in the form of a list of things that could be done, it really doesn’t provide teachers with a clear path forward, as the road map to get from point A to point B is missing. This results in teachers moving in individual directions as each person carves out what they deem the best way forward.
The solution? Providing an educational framework and/or the planning tools that outline steps that need to be taken in order to implement the shared strategy with success. To learn more about an educational framework and the power of a planner, see the following articles:
What is an Educational Framework?
A Vision vs. an Educational Framework
The Tool Successful Companies Use That Schools Need
The Power of Planners
If we could learn to embrace both the sharing of strategies and the plans of actions necessary to achieve them in the field of education, imagine the transformations we could achieve as not only would teachers have knowledge of the latest and greatest methods that exist but they would also be empowered with the tools or plans of action to implement them. Interested in learning more about designing educational frameworks and planners to help achieve your goals? Contact us, we are happy to help!